Patrick Smyth

From Irish Times: “…burning its bridges in Kashmir

“IT HAS been a bloody week in Kashmir. On Monday, 17 people died in clashes with the Indian army and a steady daily attrition has brought the death toll to 94 since the latest outburst of violence began in June after a teenager was killed by a police tear gas shell.

The casualties are overwhelmingly protesting young people, many of them children, armed only with stones, shot by overzealous troops in one of the most militarised regions of the world.

The conflict in the disputed territory has in the last 20 years seen a brutal jihadist terror campaign – largely funded and trained by Pakistan, and largely broken by 2003 – evolve in the last couple of years into what is a separatist popular intifada against India’s 500,000-strong military presence. Major towns in the 97 per cent Muslim Kashmir valley are under indefinite curfew and for thousands of Kashmiris daily life is made miserable by widespread arrests, beatings, torture and “disappearances” of civilians by the authorities.”

“…the issue will not die. A poll in the Hindustan Times last week found that two-thirds of those living in Kashmir wanted independence. Fewer than one in 10, however, wanted to merge with Pakistan. The survey also reflected the reality that residents of the Hindu-majority Jammu and the mostly Buddhist Ladakh regions did not share the desire for independence. And the Delhi official line remains that Jammu and Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority state, is integral to its national identity.”

“…the issue will not die. A poll in the Hindustan Times last week found that two-thirds of those living in Kashmir wanted independence. Fewer than one in 10, however, wanted to merge with Pakistan. The survey also reflected the reality that residents of the Hindu-majority Jammu and the mostly Buddhist Ladakh regions did not share the desire for independence. And the Delhi official line remains that Jammu and Kashmir, its only Muslim-majority state, is integral to its national identity.”

“That would be so if it were not for the bloody suppression of Kashmir by an army that appears to be completely out of control. And Delhi is apparently burning its own bridges – the possibilities of accommodation, of reconciling the majority of Kashmiris to sharing in the Indian state, are being destroyed precisely by that violence and a refusal to talk.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s